We all know the importance of the mother's diet for a healthy baby. But, who would have imagined that a dad's diet can influence the baby too? Well, researchers from the University of Cincinnati, USA conducted some studies and have a conclusion: if you want healthier babies, ask the father to eat nutritious food!
The thought behind the experiment: epigenetics
We often read that a certain trait is genetic - it passes to a child through the genes that the child inherits from the parent. However, not all genes are considered by the cell for use. The cytoplasmic environment plays a role and to an extent, the cell decided which genes to use and which genes to let be. Simply put, when it comes to a few genes, the cell picks and chooses what to wear depending on the type of a party.
So, when the couple makes a baby, the man passes on the genes. However, he may also pass on other stuff through his seminal fluids to the baby and this might influence the health of the baby. And so, the researchers Michal Polak and Joshua Benoit set up an elaborate experiment to see how a man's nutrition plays a role in the outcome of the child's health.
For this experiment, the biologists chose fruit flies - not because they are a tad bit irritating, but because we share 60% of our genes and 75% of disease-carrying genes with them. And it is faster to see the outcome of the experiment in them! So, the biologists kept the diet of the female fruit flies constant, with good, nutritious food. Different male fruit flies were fed different types of constant meals, ranging in calories, carbohydrates, and proteins. And then, the males mated with the females, and the baby fruit flies were examined for their health.
It was found that the offsprings of the male fruit flies who had poor nutrition fared poorly. The offsprings of males who without enough energy reserves did not survive. Also, the offspring of those who had ample proteins and fewer sugars were quite healthy.
This can be extrapolated to humans, stressing the importance of a balanced diet.
Your diet influences generations to come
There have been studies in humans that show something startling! In 2002, a study of Swedish population showed that 9-year-old children who had an abundance of food then had grandchildren who had a higher rate of diabetes and heart disease. Who wants that? People ascribe this wrongly to genetics when it is epigenetics all along.
To put it simply, what you eat is going to influence generations to come. So here are 3 things you need to do if you want to become a father to a healthy baby
- Don't consume alcohol. Your sperms mature for 72 days in your scrotum. So, stop smoking and drinking at least 3 months before you conceive. So, as soon as your partner starts taking fertility vitamins, you need to clean up your act too!
- Eat a balanced diet. Eat good food. If you can cook, make some for yourself and your wife. Fatherhood is a big step, so get rid of grabbing fast food on the go, as your child will see you doing the same and will end up aping you. And, cut down on sugars, especially from cakes and confectionaries.
- Get fit. Well, you will have a lot on your plate once the baby arrives. It is a good idea to get a headstart. Getting fit not only is good for you, you might also pass on a healthy habit to your children.
So dads, eat good, and mums, make sure your partner reads this!